Alice’s Restaurant

August 21, 2007

Tudor Follies: Arm Chair Theologians

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 1:01 am

When we left off Katherine was behaving the same way so many of Henry’s other wives did when finding out how blood thirsty Henry could be.  She had a royal hissy fit.  Let’s see if she fairs any better than the others.***

So sayeth the doctor to Katherine; “First, don’t say anything to anybody else about the warrant! When you talk to Henry, tell him that you could sense that he was upset about something. That after much soul searching you concluded he was upset because you were such a smart-ass know it all. Tell his Royal Husbandness that you will never, EVER do or say ANYTHING that will EVER contradict or upset His Most Benign and Forgiving Royal Self EVER AGAIN! Cross your heart and hope to die!

And tell your servant to put that frick’n warrant back where she found it! Without being seen! If Henry knows you know what he knows, you’re toast. Um…Your majesty will forgive me that last bit. Just a figure of speech.” Katherine continued to carry on as loudly as before, but now she had a plan. The doctor returned to Henry shaking his head. Henry decided to pop in and see what was upsetting his little armchair theologian.

He stayed with Katherine for about an hour, them returned to his rooms. As soon as he was gone Katherine ordered her ladies to gather up any books, pamphlets, letters, anything that might be considered heretical and burn them. Then, in deep remorse mode, she went to Henry’s room for a little chat. Henry was there with some chaps, discussing…religion! Henry invited Katherine in. Perhaps she’d care to add her two shillings on the subject.

Katherine answered Henry’s questions very carefully. She then stated that, as the supreme head of the One True Church, she would never dream of contradicting him on matters of doctrine. Henry was having none of that.
He said, “Not so, by St. Mary! Ye are become a doctor, Kate, to instruct us, as often time we have seen, and not to be instructed or directed by us.”

Katherine had to proceed with the utmost care. If she couldn’t convince Henry she was behind him on matters of the church… She started by saying she had been misunderstood. She was a woman! How could she possibly know as much as her vastly superior husband? If she argued with him it was only for the sake of taking his mind off the cares and burdens of being a king! If she played the devil’s advocate it was for entertainment purposes only! She truly believed she was making her beloved husbands life more pleasant by giving his brain cells a run for their money.

Henry’s heart melted. His little Kate had only noble intentions from the very beginning. He knew it all along. Said Henry,
“Is it so, sweetheart? And tended your arguments to no worse end? Then we are perfect friends, as ever at any time heretofore.”
He bought it all. He hugged her and kissed her and told her he would never doubt her again. After she left, he turned his attention to those who had badmouthed her. The scales had fallen from his eyes. He could see the plans of Wriothesley and Gardiner plain as day. Something would have to be done about those two. 

Meanwhile, the butterfingered councilor had found the warrant right where he dropped it. Yowza! That was a close one! His relief can only be imagined. At some point in the evening Wriothesly became aware of the document’s existence. Since it bore Henry’s signature, he decided not to wait for Henry to make up his mind. He was going to move in for the kill the next day. Lord Chancellor Wriothesley was about to discover how mercurial a prince Henry could be.


What a foolish, foolish man.  Wriothesly, I mean.

No, this does not end the Tudor Follies.  Mr. Al has one last episode ready to go.  I couldn’t resist; I went ahead and read it.  I promise, next Tuesday we will end the series with a great post.

Thank you Mr. Al, both for today’s episode, and for your willingness to continue your history lessons after you are done with Henry VIII.


August 14, 2007

And even more Tudor stuff

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 12:03 am

We’re back for another installment of Mr. Al’s take on Henry the VIII.  Warning, there is some rough language in this one. 


One of the things I love about history are those moments when I put down a history book and exclaim, “What the hell was he thinking? How could he be that stupid?” Katherine’s story takes just such a turn. Soon after his conversation with Henry, Gardiner ordered the arrest of three of Katherine’s most important ladies-in-waiting; Lady Tyrwhitte, Lady Lane and Katherine’s sister, Lady Herbert. No rough stuff, but they were taken to the Tower for questioning. While there, their rooms were searched for banned reading materials.

The ladies were asked about their conversations with the Queen. Discuss religion much? How about that Martin Luther guy? Anything nice to say about him? Apparently nothing was found because the ladies were released without being charged with anything. Before all this happened Katherine knew she had to be careful. If she suspected that she had enemies in her husband’s court before, she knew it for a fact now. The arrest of her ladies-in waiting should have been a red flag the size of a mainsail to her.

Bishop Gardiner’s signature was on the arrest warrants. Katherine should have known that Gardiner didn’t have the juice to pull a stunt like that on his own dime. Henry would never have allowed it! Unless… So what did this very intelligent, common senseical woman do? She continued her theological debates with Henry. What in God’s name was she thinking? She KNEW they were looking for closet Protestants. She KNEW they suspected her. She should have known that Henry was supporting the investigation. Katherine Parr was a snow white bunny rabbit in the middle of a very large, very empty field and the sky overhead was filled with hungry hawks. And she continued to debate religion with Henry.

Henry listened very carefully to his wife’s arguments. He noted anything that might be suspicious. She prattled on and he listened. She prattled some more and he listened. Then, one day, he decided he had heard enough. He had a warrant for her arrest drawn up. The charge? Heresy. Which meant that she would be burned at the stake rather than beheaded. That Henry! He sure knew how to put on a show!

With the warrant before him, Henry signed it and handed it over to a trusted member of his Privy Council. This fellow was told to keep it under wraps until it was called for. No one was to know about it. This fellow was told to guard the document with his life. This fellow swore mighty oaths and promised to do as the king wished. No doubt fantasizing about the rich rewards that would come his way for being so loyal, this unnamed person allowed himself to become distracted enough to lose the warrant. He dropped it in a hallway where it was promptly found by one of the Queens servants.

Apparently this servant didn’t stop to consider the price she might pay for her loyalty to Katherine, because she took it strait to the Queen. Whatever illusions Katherine harbored regarding Henry’s tolerance of her unorthodox views went right out the window, along with her composure, upon reading the warrant. Henry was going to burn her at the stake as a heretic! She was way too smart to think she stood a snowball’s chance in hell of being found innocent. When Henry Tudor had a wife arrested, there was only one outcome.

How could she have misjudged him so badly? There was only one thing to be done, talk to Henry. But first, she’d take a moment or so to collapse on her bed, a screaming, hysterical mass of quivering royal jelly. Katherine lost it completely. So loud were her lamentations that Henry could hear them in his private rooms. Having no idea what was wrong, he sent his personal doctors to check it out.

One of them, Doctor Wendy, was the only other person, aside from the Privy Councilor, that Henry had confided in regarding the warrant. Some how or another, the good doctor figured out what was troubling Katherine. Without tipping off his colleague, Wendy sent him and everyone else out of the room so he could have a heart to heart with the Queen. She told him about the warrant. Oh dear. What was she going to do? The good doctor was completely on Katherine’s side. First and foremost, she had to pull herself together! They only had minutes to come up with a plan so she had to stop freaking out NOW!


This kind of behavior really brings home the realization that kings and queens are only people too.  Good thing you’ve got another blog planned, Mr. Al.  No way I’d let you quit here.


August 6, 2007

Tudor Follies: A Conversational Gambit

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 11:50 pm

Put your breakfast down before you read today’s installment of Henry’s life and wives.  Mr. Al is in rare form today! 


 In the summer of 1546, a woman, Anne Askew, was imprisoned in the Tower on charges of heresy. For some reason Wriothesley considered this a golden opportunity to gather evidence against the Queen. Under questioning she denied knowing any members of the Queen’s household, let alone the Queen herself. Wroithesley ordered her racked. When no information was forthcoming, Wriothesley took over, turning the wheel himself. Once her arms and legs had been pulled from their sockets, Wriothesley had Anne dumped on the floor, where she was kicked and beaten for another two hours. She would not deny her faith nor admit to knowing any member of the Queen’s household. Wriothesley ordered her to be burned at the stake. Occasionally, a prisoner sentenced to be burned would be strangled with a cord before the fire was lit; an act of mercy the executioner was not allowed to do for Anne. So, apparently on his own initiative, he tied a bag of gunpowder around her neck. It exploded almost as soon as the fire was lit. That execution was the talk of London. If Katherine needed any evidence as to how far the anti-Protestant crowd would go, she need look no further than Anne Askew. Wriothesley returned to biding his time and hoping that the Queen would slip up.It was becoming more difficult for Katherine to hide her true beliefs. Especially since she loved theological debates. So did Henry. This would have been fine but for the fact Henry DID NOT like to be contradicted. Katherine did it constantly. Perhaps this would have been acceptable on a very limited basis with a man like Archbishop Cranmer, perhaps not. It was not acceptable from a mere woman, Queen or no queen. Katherine didn’t get that memo.

Worse yet, it was becoming clear that she was pushing church reform much further than Henry was willing to go; and in an undeniably Protestant direction. This wasn’t sitting well with Henry. Nor was the fact that after three years of marriage there were no kids, male or female. Edward’s health as well as the changing situation in Scotland convinced Henry that more princes were required. Three whole years and no rug rats. What the hell?!

Since any problems in a Henry marriage were automatically the woman’s fault, Katherine would have to, um…take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and do something about it. She didn’t seem to be aware that there was a problem. She really should have. Kids aside, she continued to push for greater church reforms and continued to contradict Henry. Wriothesley, (Say that name really fast five times.) and Gardinier were delighted to give her all the rope she wanted. It was only a matter of time before she hung herself. And then, one evening at the dinner table, she did.

What point they were debating is not known. Considering Henry’s reaction it was probably religious. In any event, in the middle of making a point, Henry told Katherine to shut the hell up and change the subject. Shocked, Katherine did as she was told. After dinner, she rose, bid His Majesty a good night and left the room. Bishop Gardiner was at that meal. As soon as Katherine was gone, he went to work.

Henry grumbled about uppity women daring to contradict their husbands. What was the world coming to? It broke the good bishops heart to have to report to Henry that the Queen’s views were not hers alone. No, there was an entire Protestant faction within the Queen’s household that was promoting a brand of heresy that would be an automatic death sentence for anyone of lesser rank.

Worse, these members of the Queen’s household were planning the overthrow of Henry’s government, the destruction of his church and the imposition of a radically heretical sect in its place! Worse than Lutherans, maybe. Although in Gardiner’s book, it would be pretty hard to sink lower than a Lutheran. Henry was stunned. What in heavens name was his little Kate getting up to? Sure, she was lippy and opinionated, but this? Henry wasn’t sure what to think. These charges were about as serious as it gets.

Henry had known Gardiner a lot longer than he had known Katherine. If a man of his caliber was making such claims, he’d better have the matter investigated. Besides, Gardiner must have known the price he would pay for lying about such a thing. He would never risk it unless at least some of it was true. Henry and the bishop had a long conversation that night. When it ended, Henry was in a very bad mood. He ordered Gardiner to find the proof. Leave no stone unturned.


Uh oh.  Poor Katherine. How dare she be a real person!  Mr. Al, tell me this ends well.  I’m tempted to skip ahead to next week.


Book Room

Filed under: Linkyness, Quick Quotes — aliceaudrey @ 9:59 pm

Get a load of this!


August 5, 2007

Deathly Hallows

Filed under: What Are You Reading? — aliceaudrey @ 10:48 am

 I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Wouldn’t you know, I want to talk about it and everybody else has already done their talking!

 Darn.  Now I’ll have to go back through my blogroll’s old posts and see if I can figure out who might still want to talk.


edited:  Spoiler warning in the comments!!

July 31, 2007

The Tudor Follies: Marital Bliss with Henry

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 12:59 am

When we left off last week, Henry and Katherine Parr had just gotten married, and Henry was in the mood to celebrate.  Now, back to the words of Mr. Al.****

Henry decided on a celebration that would combine business with pleasure.  Accordingly, during a visit to Windsor Castle, Henry had three Protestant heretics burned at the stake on the front lawn. Yes, all was well in the Tudor household. Katherine had prevailed upon Henry to be nice to Mary and Elizabeth. With Edward brought in from the royal bubble Henry kept him in, all three half-siblings were finally spending quality time together. Edward loved it! He didn’t get to socialize much, and it showed. Unfortunately, not everyone was happy.

Lord Chancellor Wriothesley was a political ally of the Bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, whom we met earlier in a public house in Essex. Mister Gardiner’s career had come along nicely, thank you very much. Wriothesley and Gardiner hated Protestants every bit as much as Henry. They also suspected the Queen of being one. Which she was. Very, VERY secretly. Katherine was aware of the danger and conducted herself accordingly. Unfortunately, she began to feel a little bulletproof, being the Queen and all. What she didn’t realize was that being Queen made it even more imperative that she be careful. Especially since she didn’t know who her enemies were.

When the heretics were burned at Windsor, she didn’t bat an eyelash. She did nothing to intervene. She was aware that she was being watched for her reaction. She couldn’t fool Wriothesley. He wanted to bring her down the way he had brought down Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. One gets the impression that he did not approve of queens.

Poor Henry, every time he set out to find the perfect wife, somebody had to jam the spokes of the wheels of the wagon of wedded bliss with the triple monkey wrenches of adultery, heresy and more adultery. Wroithesley and Gardiner decided to bide their time. Henry wasn’t going to live forever, or even much longer. They fully expected to be appointed to Edward’s Regency Council. Then they would make their move.

In the meantime, all Katherine could do was try to keep to herself. That, and indulge one of her great passions, female education. To say Katherine Parr was ahead of her time on the issue would be putting it mildly. She was centuries ahead of her time. Not just for girls of Good Family, but the poor as well. Educate the poor?! Men of the court were horrified. Katherine used her position to champion these causes and more.

She took money from her household fund to provide scholarships for academically worthy boys from modest homes. And she practiced what she preached close to home. Under her guidance Mary, Elizabeth and Edward excelled at their studies. Granted, Elizabeth and Edward were prodigies, but Mary was not. She was very intelligent, but not on the level of her half-siblings. Adding to that the treatment she had received at the hands of her father, she had the self-esteem of a clam. Katherine made sure she did her best. Which turned out to be pretty damned good. Edward remembered those days as the happiest of his life. Elizabeth thought she’d died and gone to heaven.

Both Mary and Elizabeth produced translations of French philosophical texts that were good enough to publish. These works received a wide reading and were praised by academics across England. Edward’s grasp of foreign languages astounded his tutors. Not yet in his teens, he could, and did, argue points of theology and law with university professors. Katherine was the toast of the university community. And not just because she had money for them.

Mary and Katherine were very close in age. The two of them got on wonderfully, as long as they didn’t discuss religion. This must have been hard for both of them. Mary as a devote Roman Catholic and Katherine as a closet Lutheran. It couldn’t be any other way. With Henry’s reforms, they were both skating on thin ice. Katherine was about to find out how thin.


Thank you Mr. Al.  It’s amazing how Henry’s least little mood swing makes me cringe.  I’m so glad I’m not living in his times.


July 28, 2007

Building a Web Site

Filed under: writing, Writing Craft, Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 12:50 am

As an unpublished author, what do you put on your web site?  I feel so silly pushing myself this way, but want to do something.  Everyone says it’s important to have an Internet presence, and it’s never too soon to get started, but really, I’m not so sure.  If editors and agents don’t bother to look at a writer’s web site, then it seems like a lot of work.

On the other hand, I think it helps other writers see where I’m coming from when I say some of the things I say about writing process.  I’m not a flash in the pan.  I have completed several books.  You can even see whether or not one of them is any good because I put a link to the first chapter on the web site.

Yet I have run into a lot of technical problems, and each time a link fails to work no matter what I do, I have to ask the question, is this really necessary?  Do I really need to set up an individual link to each Suzie’s House episode?  Do I really need the link to the first chapter of Zackly Right?  Do I want to hide the fact I’ve write so many books, or that Zackly Right hasn’t won a contest since 2005.  Actually, it wasn’t official until 2006, but how can I say that when the name of the contest includes the 2005 date?  Should I bother to say I’ve only entered it in two contests since that win, and one of them was the Golden Heart?

I love blogging.  Do I highlight it?  Should I make that the second page, or leave it the last one listed?  Does it matter?

So many questions.

Do you have a web site?  What’s the URL?  What do you recommend to someone who isn’t published yet?


July 25, 2007

Potter Mania

Filed under: What Are You Reading? — aliceaudrey @ 12:21 am

Has everyone read the book already?  Do you have your copy yet? 

I don’t!  I didn’t get caught up in the media blitz because I don’t get much in the way of media.  Now it’s catching up with me because everyone is blogging about it!  I’m going to have to hurry up and get my copy ASAP because I’m terrified someone will let something important slip before I can read it.  Meanwhile everyone is emailing behind the scenes to discuss it, and you know by the time I read it everyone will have already said everything they want to.

All I can say is “wait for me!!!”


July 23, 2007

Tudor Follies: Courtship, Henry Style

Filed under: Henry VIII, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 11:42 pm

Welcome back to Mr. Al’s take on the many wives of Henry the XIII. When we left off the sweet, young, but not so innocent Katherine * had lost her head. Wouldn’t you know Henry would turn his attention to another Katherine. And now, without further ado, Mr. Al:
Yes, Katherine Parr was already married. But the hubby, Lord Latimer, was much older and sick with some long-term disease that would carry him off before too long. And a good thing too, because Henry was no spring chicken. He didn’t have time for lengthy courtships. Hell, he didn’t need no stink’n courtship at all! Wasn’t he king? The scullery maids never said “no”, why should Katherine? He began sending her little ‘tokens’ of his esteem. Katherine wanted to send them back, but she didn’t dare..
Her resolve was put to the test in March of 1543. Lord Latimer died, leaving Katherine a couple of manor houses, some cash and the usual knick-knacks. Family silver, ect. At 31, Katherine Parr was an independent woman of means. And an attractive one. With deep auburn hair, blue eyes and fashionably pale skin, more guys than Henry considered her a prize.

Being newly widowed and all, Henry decided to keep a low profile for the time being. One fellow wasn’t going to wait. Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen, was six years older than Katherine, handsome to a fault and as ambitious as his sister. In Katherine he saw looks, money and connections to the oldest families in the kingdom. Sir Thomas Seymore was…a scoundrel!

Katherine was flattered by all the attention from this dashing fellow. Respectable enough to be employed by Henry as an ambassador, but not TOO respectable. She found him very exciting. There is no indication that Sir Thomas and Henry knew about each other in the beginning. It’s not likely that Katherine would have mentioned the gifts from Henry. You just naturally forget to mention things like that when an exciting non-Henry type guy comes calling.

It wasn’t long before they were discussing marriage. They might as well have been discussing a trip to the Moon for all the reality of it. Henry had his eye on Katherine. And when he found out about Sir Thomas, he had his eye on him as well…But not for the same reason…obviously…Anyway… Henry moved swiftly to nip the Seymour/Parr romance in the bud. Sir Thomas was sent on an embassy to the Regent of the Netherlands. An important post and an indication of Henry’s regard for Sir Thomas’s diplomatic abilities. Alas, the posting would last until Henry told him to come home.

No doubt Henry gave him some lovely parting gifts. With Sir Thomas gone, Henry turned up the heat on Katherine. She was not happy, but Henry being king and all, she had to go along. In July of 1543, Henry concluded a treaty with Scotland for the future marriage of his son, Edward, to Mary, Queen of Scots. This arrangement was entirely to Henry’s advantage. It left him in such high spirits that, dang it, he couldn’t help himself, he asked Katherine to marry him.

Katherine was appalled. She did NOT want to marry Henry. She tried to beg off. Henry asked again.  He let her know that there was only one acceptable answer. She said yes. While Henry may not have been Katherine’s first choice for a husband, she quickly decided to make the best of it. She had no more love of sports or gambling than Anne of Cleves did, but at 52, neither did Henry. Henry was an old man by the standards of the day, and he felt it.

Not willing to give up the rich foods and wine that gave him so much pleasure, Henry had put on a great deal of weight. The weight gain seems to have brought on impotence. This apparently didn’t bother Henry either. Not at first, anyway. Katherine possessed an unusually keen intellect. One of her favorite subjects for debate was theology. Oh boy! Not only was it one of Henry’s favorite topics, but it endeared her to Archbishop Cranmer immediately. She was absolutely committed to church reform.

That same July, Cranmer issued a special license for the lovebugs to get married wherever and whenever they felt like it. Two days after receiving it, Henry and Katherine were married, are you ready for this? In a small, quiet ceremony at Hampton Court. Everything was going as well as Katherine could hope. The new Queen organized her new household. Relatives and friends were given cushy jobs. Henry was feeling better than he had in years! In fact, he felt that a special celebration was in order.


Oh boy. When Henry feels like celebrating I cringe.

Many of you have expressed concern that the Tudor Follies could not continue indefinitely, and indeed they can’t. There will be four more episodes, and then, alas, we will have to lay Henry and all his wives to rest. (I can hear Mr. Al’s voice in my head as I type this. Dear, there is such a thing as too much togetherness.)

There will be a short intermission for Mr. Al while he changes gears. He is boning up on his Georgian history, or at least that’s what the books scattered around the kitchen seem to be on. He is threatening to go backwards on me – starting with the Prince Regent from whom we get the term “The Regency Period” and working his way back in time to George the First. Sigh. If you must, dear. If you must.

July 21, 2007

Shoe Bonding

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 8:00 pm

I don’t get this thing about women bonding while shopping.  I’ve seen it in a variety of Romance novels, and I still don’t get it.  I don’t bond with friends while shopping.  I lose them.

Seriously, I don’t like hitting the department stores and boutiques have a tendency to snob me out.  Unless you’re talking second-hand, and I’m talking Goodwill here, not Retro Fashions, you aren’t going to catch me buying clothing let alone shoes.

Yet I have managed to bond with my mother over shoes.  So has my daughter.  Not from BUYING them with her, from stealing them from her.

I don’t generally have nice shoes around.  I live in my crocs, clogs, running shoes, and hiking boots.  What more could a girl need?  Someone to borrow from on New Years Eve.

Mom gave me a ton of shoes she no longer wears.  I’m thinking I need to give a couple pair back, just so I can steal them next time I visit.

What about you?  Do you bond over shopping?  What is that about, anyway?


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